by Kim Josephson
Most people have just enough religion to bug ‘em but not enough to bless ‘em. They want to be in Christ but not “too far” in. They don’t really want to be hot for God but then they don’t want to be down right cold either. They seem to want a place somewhere in the middle, and that is precisely the problem. Middleground living is no man’s land; in fact, Jesus called it “Spueville”! Rev 3:16.
Satan and his gang constantly warn... “Don’t be too spiritual. You don’t want to be a fanatic, do you? You don’t want to go overboard on this thing.” Isn’t it ridiculous that the idea is, that you could somehow get too much of God! Satan never cautions you about getting too much money or too many toys or even too much debt, but too much God - now that’s a problem.
I know it seems ludicrous but isn’t that exactly what the devil propounds? Teenagers are afraid that if they really love Jesus and act like it that they won’t be “cool”. “Real men” are just too macho to be in love with Jesus. And God forbid we should ever be accused of being overly emotional about Jesus. So, what do we do? - we play it safe. We stay in the middle and we look like it.
Instead of people on fire with the love of God we just sort of look like everyone else. Why we even talk like everyone else. We learn to gripe and moan and complain about everything. We’re never excited about anything except maybe a football championship, because we live in the middle, without the power of God. Oh, we have a form of godliness, a program, a ritual, but we deny the power thereof. With our lukewarm behavior, we grieve away the Spirit of God but we won’t admit it and repent of it and change. No, instead we put on a little plastic smile and pretend everything’s OK.
No Church, this is the exact opposite of what God intended. Don’t you remember when you were first saved? Don’t you remember how great it was to be forgiven of your sins - to have your sins separated as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more? Were you excited then? Did you want to share the Gospel then? You know you did. You did if you were ever born again! And Jesus says today “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works...” Rev 2:5. Isn’t it time to come back to your first love?
What made you happy and satisfied at the beginning of your relationship with God, was that you stopped your rebellion and came home to God. You didn’t want to go on in sin. You didn’t want to keep having your own way. Having your own way was hell. For most of us, our selfishness was tearing our lives apart but the mercy of God caused our blind eyes to open and the grace of God allowed us to come home.
But somehow we forget. So satan comes back and says, “hey, remember the good times you had in sin? You can have that and God too”. That’s a lie you know, but sometimes instead of rebuking satan with the Word of God in the name of Jesus, we’ll listen to his next round of arguments and temptations and pretty soon we’re doing his will instead of God’s. Before long the power of God won’t be in evidence in our lives, the presence and joy of God will be gone and life will be horrible. And right here is where many just feel sorry for themselves and throw away their faith and walk back into the world and back into self-destruction. Folks, that’s what Peter’s talking about when he says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.
In spite of all this talk about the powerless devil, I see lives being torn apart by his direct influence. I see “Christian” marriages falling apart. I see “Christians” addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, entertainment, sports, money and anything and everything but God. How can this be? This is the direct result of leaving your first love. This is the direct result of sin!
Oh Church, don’t you see? It’s time to come back to God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. It’s time for us to love God and time for us to hate sin! It’s time to make no compromise with satan, not even on the smallest issue.
I know we don’t like to talk about it, but sin is a killer. It always has been and it always will be. It might seem harmless at the start but it is ever the same. It is addictive and it will destroy. It can produce nothing but death. Satan promises something else but he is a liar. The wages of sin is death. You can’t play with the devil. You can’t flirt with the world and the lust thereof - if you do, it will kill you. Oh, you might think you’re getting away with it but know this - God says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num 32:23) As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, sin will expose, it will shame, and it will kill.
What should we think of sin? We should think of it as infinite danger. We should see no good in it. We should turn from it, avoid it, abhor it and pass away from it. We should see it as death. We should see it as that which cost God the life of His only begotten Son. We should see sin as that which took our Savior’s life. We should hate sin. We should give no mercy to sin because it will give no mercy to us.
And what will happen if we begin to treat sin like this. Well, first of all we’ll repent of it. With our repentance we’ll enjoy a cleansing and clearing of ourselves that will be a supernatural refreshing. We will start a brand new day that will be sweet like those first days of our experience in God. We’ll come back to our first love. God promises “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) God promises that if we draw near to Him that He will draw near to us. And what that means is, that we’ll once again experience His presence. With His presence there will be fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). There will be power and glory and all there is in God. Oh, to love God and hate sin!
That’s what Jesus did! In Heb 1:9 the Bible says that because Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity that God anointed Him with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Folks, that’s a supernatural joy. That’s what Jesus had, and that’s what drew people to Him. He had it all - the presence of God - the purpose of God - the power of God - the joy of God. And this is the promise to us. If we will follow His example and Love God and Hate Sin we too can know that same anointing of Joy. Love God and Hate Sin!
Can you imagine Church? What if we who say we abide in Him began to walk as He walked, (1 John 2:6) - Loving God and Hating Sin. Wouldn't that produce the spotless bride Jesus is coming for? Wouldn't that show the world the Real Jesus? Wouldn't that be lifting up Jesus in such a way that it would draw all men unto Him? Love God and Hate Sin. That's the call of the Master today. That's the call that will wreck hell. God forbid that we should settle for anything less? God forbid that we accept any substitute or counterfeit offered up by the devil.